The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Indiana Pacers on the road, 127-104
It was a win that snapped a four-game losing streak and had their season teetering on the brink as they fell out of the playoffs. This win doesn’t fix all the issues revealed in the spate of recent struggles, but it’s a reminder that, when Dallas is executing what makes it successful, they can still win games comfortably.
Luka Doncic led his squad with 25 points in 28 minutes to go along with one incredible assist that will likely stick on the career highlight reel. Rookie Jaden Hardy continues to shine offensively, contributing 20 points off the bench as well as four rebounds and assists.
For Indiana — playing without Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner, or Buddy Hield — it was fellow rookie Bennedict Mathurian carrying the scoring load with 26.
The Mavericks went out and handily beat down a mediocre team that was playing heavily shorthanded. Something that shouldn’t be worth noting, but considering how that exact same scenario has played out with different results, its demands some attention.
Still, this is a win that’s going to create more questions than answers. Just as the consensus was moving in the direction of doing whatever possible to keep their top-10 protected pick, Dallas goes and looks like a group ready to catch fire for the post season.
When Dallas plays its game, (that is, shoot the three, don’t turn the ball over) it looks like the kind of wild card that could take on any team in the West. We saw that team tonight, but its appearances have been getting rarer and rarer.
Better you than me
Neither team’s shooting was crackling to start the game (although Dallas did manage to win the first quarter – something they haven’t done on the road in their past eight attempts), but as Dallas heated up in the second, the Pacers never got their shots to fall.
It was reminiscent of Dallas’ own performance against the Hornets in which they managed just 25% from three, as Indy finished just 8-of-28 from deep, just 28.6%. The Mavs, on the other hand, found their stroke in the second, shooting 5-of-10 as a team, and went on to shoot the deep ball at a 48.7% clip for the game.
No free possessions
Dallas is not a good defensive team, and at this point in the season, it’s fool’s gold to think that’s a switch that can be flipped. More attainable, though, is for Dallas to get back to being stingy with possessions as they have been in the past. After all, a team can’t score if they don’t have the ball. In this game, Dallas finished the first half with just a single turnover to Indiana’s seven. Dallas gave up zero points due to turnovers while they generated 14 off of the possessions the Pacers coughed up. The game ended with 13 Maverick turnovers, but the game was already well in hand when guys like JaVale Mcgee, Justin Holiday, and McKinley Wright IV got some run and gave it up a couple of times apiece.
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